Small but noteworthy helicopter equipment manufacturers found a suitable showcase for their products at Helitech 2007 in Duxford, England, early last month. Big OEMs Agusta-Westland, Bell, Enstrom, Eurocopter, MD Helicopters, Robinson and Sikor- sky (along with accompanying subsidiary Schweizer) were either present or represented, and they had sales to announce.
For years the aeromedical helicopters based in and around New York City and Washington have trained for massive urban disasters. Perhaps not as massive as the holocaust that the World Trade Center became–who could have imagined such a combination of terrorist act and terrifying high-rise fire climaxed by a multiple building collapse of geologic proportions?–but the kind of catastrophes big cities attract.
To associate the jet-set image of a corporate flight department with S-38 flying boats and Ford Trimotors might seem a bit of a stretch to those who fly in the plush expanses of a gold-trimmed, leather-upholstered Global Express or GIV. But for UTFlight, the East Granby, Conn.-based flight department of United Technologies, the connection to aviation’s past runs deeper than most.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is generally seen as the next big market for the helicopter industry–OEMs, operators, training schools and maintenance operations alike. But can we expect the skies over China to be black with whirling blades any time soon?
Sikorsky is confident its upgraded medium twin, the S-76D, will make its first flight in the fourth quarter of next year, said Bruce McKinney, v-p for Europe. Sikorsky engineers are building the all-composite blades for the main rotor. Pratt & Whitney Canada has been running three PW210S development engines. Wind-tunnel tests have been performed to check engine inlet icing.
Sikorsky S-76A, Houston, April 19, 2006–The S-76A was hovering at West Houston Airport (IWS) when tail rotor control was lost. Registered to and operated by Houston Helicopters of Pearland, Texas, the helicopter was substantially damaged, but the commercial pilot, copilot and eight passengers were uninjured.
CAE SimuFlite has relocated its Sikorsky S-76 simulator to its new Northeast facility, near Morristown Airport, N.J., from its headquarters at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. SimuFlite’s Sikorsky S-76 simulator can be reconfigured between the S-76C+ and S-76B, and is the only S-76 level-D simulator to feature full-size chin windows, according to the company.
Russian engine designer Klimov has revealed its first all-new helicopter turboshaft since the end of the Soviet era and said the powerplant will be aimed partly at re-engining helicopters powered by the ubiquitous Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6.
Here at the Paris Air Show, helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca announced three contracts for its support-by-the-hour (SBH) scheme.
Sikorsky S-76A++, Eugene Island, Gulf of Mexico, Oct. 22, 2006–The Petroleum Helicopters S-76 was destroyed when it crashed into the Gulf of Mexico while landing at the offshore platform Eugene Island Block 259, in VMC. The 16,848-hour ATP-rated pilot was not injured and the 1,731-hour commercial copilot received only minor injuries.